Can you even begin to imagine how the ancients moved blocks of stone weighing up to fifty tons over dozens of miles? Even scientists debate today how the ancients accomplished such feats. Today we have cranes, forklifts, front-end loaders, and other heavy-duty equipment to help us move ultra-heavy loads. Still, there is the challenge of moving loads that are not quite heavy enough to justify using forklifts or other machines and yet are too heavy to be easily moved by hand. For example, a forklift would not be much good if you had to move a piano into a house. On the other hand, trying to lift the piano and physically move it into your house is a tough job, a job that requires several people and can even then be difficult and downright dangerous. When you have a heavy or awkward load to move, casters can make your life much, much easier. |
A caster is a free-standing wheel. Think of the wheels on an office chair if you need a visual. If you inspect the wheel on an office chair or wheels on a shopping cart, you will find that each wheel on the desk chair and each of the wheels on a shopping cart operates independently of the others. This is important because it would be nearly impossible and definitely impractical to connect the wheels of a desk chair with axles. If the front wheel of a shopping cart were connected by an axle, then the shopping cart would be difficult if not impossible to turn. These are just a couple of examples, where it is important to have a free-standing wheel. The axle is an important invention and has many uses, but when an axle would be out of place, many times you can turn to casters to get the job done.
Moving a crib is not really a heavy job to undertake, but it is an awkward job. The weight of a crib is spread out over quite an area and the components of a crib tend to be a little bit flimsy, so when you try to pick up a crib, you find that the crib is difficult to move. If you put a caster on each of the legs of a crib, you have a much easier time of trying to move the crib. If you connected the two front wheels and the two back wheels of a crib with an axle, you would be able to roll the crib forwards or backwards, but you would have to pick it up to turn it. Also, it would be quite easy to step on and bend the axles or get them snagged on a stray toy or shoe. Axles would be impractical for use with a crib; casters, on the other hand, are very practical for use on a crib.
There are three main kinds of casters. The type of casterthat you see most commonly is the swivel caster. The swivel caster easily pivots from side to side in order to make turns possible. The fixed caster does not pivot and is used when you need stability. The final type of casters is the locking caster. The benefit of using a locking caster is that it gives you the ability to lock your wheels so that your vehicle does not roll when you want it to remain stationary.
Casters are very useful. They can be found in use all over in today's society. When you know what you should be looking for, you will find casters in use in many different professions and locations. Casters are one of the more useful simple machines out there.
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